February 2003


Willis Jackson - "Soul Night Live!"

RealAudio Sample

Willis 'Gator' Jackson is an exciting tenor player with a very distinctive sound, he is also a very strong improviser whose tone is perfectly suited for the guitar/organ combination, honking included.

He inherited the title 'Gator' from his highly successful 1948 hit "Gator Tail", a tune he recorded with trumpeter Cootie Williams. This recording was culled from a live date recorded March 16, 1964 at the Allegro club in New York City, a session that produced two recordings, "Tell It" and "Soul Night Live". Both recordings are here reissued for the first time on CD.

For these recordings Jackson led a stellar group with Pat Martino - guitar, Carl Wilson - organ, Frank Robinson - trumpet and Joe Hadrick - drums. Together they serve up a tasteful dish of soul-jazz with a flavour of hard-bop and a dash of R&B. The fourteen-selection programme opens up with the Gershwin composition "The Man I Love", a tune that has been grossly overworked, but never at the tempo played here. In between, there are such gems as the funky up-tempo "Flamingo", and Lester Young's "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid. The tightly arranged "Tangerine" gets a collective effort from the band, with the star billing going to Jackson who plays with a tremendous amount of feeling. C.S.

Prestige PRCD-24273-2

Nils Petter Molvaer - "NP3"

RealAudio Sample

I must admit my knowledge of Nils Petter Molvaer is limited to the fact that he is a Norwegian trumpet player, and this new CD released here in Canada by Universal is his third offering. Every so often I am required to review something, which creates a challenge; this is one of those instances. The music on the recording is a complete surprise; I'd like to think of it as Euro jazz. After getting past the first two tracks the music starts to get very interesting and unique; sonically it is interesting as it is musically. With the exception of a few tracks, "Presence" and "Simply So", where the trumpet lines are interwoven with the layers of electronic percussions and synthesizers to create some kind of an acceptable sounds cape. I find the rest of the recording to be mostly an effort to blend jazz improvisational skills with a multiplicity of pop sub-genres including drum'n' bass, house and techno. All very cleverly mixed with trumpet overlays.

Molvaer played Pop and Rock as well as drums and keyboards before starting to play jazz. The Miles Davis (latter day Miles) influence is very obvious, and it is quite interesting how Molvaer captures the great one's phrasing, intonations and stylistic marks with long sustained notes and breathy tones. Listeners will have a chance to examine this recording themselves, and I do believe repeated listening will no doubt bring other surprises. C.S.

Universal 4400177952

Miles Davis - "In a Silent Way"

RealAudio Sample

What is there to say about Miles Davis that has not already been said a thousand times before? For over 50 years he has played the trumpet with a lyrical and melodic approach that has always been masterful, constant and dazzling. Since the 60's Davis was at the vanguard of every innovation and stylistic development in jazz, more often, leading the way. This re-mastered re-issue of "In A Silent Way", originally recorded in 1969, is one of Davis' most celebrated recordings, and was the first to herald the master's new musical direction. A very capable band accompanies Miles, Wayne Shorter - soprano saxophone, John McLaughlin - electric guitar, Joe Zawinul - organ, Dave Holland - bass, Chick Corea & Herbie Hancock - electric piano, and Tony Williams - drums.

In A Silent Way is neither jazz, rock or fusion, it is about silence, peace and serenity, the kind which allows your imagination to take wings and transport you to a level of tranquility. The opening track "Shhh/Peaceful" reflects, in my opinion, the true essence, mood and direction of this recording. Davis' visceral, and sometimes nocturnal trumpet playing provides a perfect fit for McLaughlin's meditative and sedate guitar work. Combine these with some clever musical exchanges by the band, and you will understand why this session is one of Davis' greatest achievements.

From the first sound of Joe Zawinal's organ, one is immediately mesmerized by the sounds and musical dialogue that follows. There is nothing tentative here, instead we have the repeated pleasure of discovery aided along beautifully by Tony Williams' brilliant, shimmering cymbal work and Dave Holland's driving bass lines. The second and final track "In A Silent Way"/"It's About That Time"/"In A Silent Way" is a three-part concerto-like setting, and features some spirited playing by Wayne Shorter. This recording is a must for serious jazz listeners, and has to be regarded as a signature Davis session from his electric era. C.S.

Columbia/Legacy CK 86556

Grant Green - "Green Street"

RealAudio Sample

While jazz aficionados revered Grant Green, he was relatively unknown to much of the jazz audience at large. Green, whose foundation is grounded in R&B, is a master bebop player, and a superb interpreter of the blues. Most of his recordings have been with larger groups, and some collaborations with organ led organizations, such as John Patton or Jack McDuff. The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of "Green Street" is a CD reissue of the original LP, with two added alternate takes of tunes, and features Green in a more intimate trio setting with Ben Tucker - bass and Dave Bailey - drums. This format allows him to stretch out and display his hard swinging approach as demonstrated on "Alone Together", one of the two standards on this recording. Thelonious Monk's "'Round About Midnight, the other standard is given a mellow, laid back treatment.

"Green With Envy" is the longest track, 9 minutes and 42 seconds (the alternate take on this is 7 minutes and 51 seconds) with opening chords that mirrors Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream", and allows everyone to stretch out quite comfortably. Dave Bailey's supple drum work, along with Ben Tucker's pulsating bass combined with Green's chopping horn-like solos prove why this reissue is a must for those who love the rollicking, playful hard-swinging style of guitarist Green. C.S.

Blue Note 7243 5 40032 2 6

David Murray - "Self-titled Compilation"

RealAudio Sample

Multi-instrumentalist, David Murray has been eloquently described as the most inventive musician in jazz today. He has the ability to play through the extremes of ranges on both tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. His mastery of circular breathing, contributes greatly to his signature long phrases. Over the years, he has played with Woody Shaw, Elvin Jones, Eddie Harris and most recently The World Saxophone Quartet. Murray's vision of jazz combines the languages of gospel, bebop, Latin music and free jazz. He has the uncanny ability to work with musicians from different musical backgrounds, as is the case with this compilation. The music here is culled from three albums, "Fo Deuk Revue", "Creole" and "Speaking In Tongues", all previously released between 1966 and 1999. For these projects, musicians from Dakar, Senegal, France and the U.S.A. join Murray. Together they explore Caribbean, Latin and African rhythms to create a sound that is passionate, intense and sometimes very spiritual.

The recording opens with Murray talking about cultural impact on his music, his many experiences, influences and what it means to work with musicians with cultural differences. Among the tracks which stand out are "One World Family", which is a joyous combination of funk, Latin and rap, very cleverly blended with some spirited Fouta singing and "How I Got Over" which presents an R&B version of a popular spiritual. This entire recording firmly traces the lineage of African-American music from spirituals through blues and jazz to a tradition that remains unbroken. C.S.

Blue Note 7243 5 40032 2 6

Star Rated Picks

New Releases:




Label & Cat. No.


Oscar Peterson


Just a Memory JAM 9147-2


Chuck Redd

All this and Heaven Too

Arbors ARCD 19257


The Dave McMurdo Jazz Orchestra

Just for now

Sackville SK2CD-5009


Tom & Don Vickery

Double Take

Cornerstone CRST CD 117


Oliver Jones & Skip Bey

Then & Now

Justin Time JUST 180-2




True North TND 273


Reg Schwager & Don Thompson

Live at Mezzetta

Sackville SKCD2-2057


Trish Colter

At Long Last Love

REACO TCPR 1000-694


Bill McBirnie

Nature Boy

Extreme Flute EF03


Paquito D’Rivera

Brazilian Dreams

Manchester Craftsman’s Guild MCGJ1010


Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band

Things to Come

Manchester Craftsman’s Guild MCGJ1009


Mark Murphy

Lucky to be Me

HighNote HCD 7094


Wayne Shorter

Footprints live!

Verve 3145896792


Lorraine Desmarais


Les Disques Scherza SCH-CD 1511


Time Warp

Warp 1X

Cornerstone CRST CD 119


Nehring/Koller & Braid

What’s Held in Common

Toronto Sound TSD02


The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Can I Persuade You?

Planet Arts 8 20428 10012 6


Tom Harrell

Live at the Village Vanguard

BMG 09026-63910-2


Ron Carter


Blue Note 7243 5 37813 2 3



Live at Massey Hall

Verve 3145896542


Dave Brubeck

The Crossing

Telarc CD-83520


Steve Turre


Telarc CD-83529


Abdullah Ibrahim

African Magic

Enja/Justin Time JENJ 3301-2


Ray Brown/Monty Alexander/Russell Malone


Telarc CD-83562


Dee Dee Bridgewater

This is New

Verve 4400168842


Ralph Sutton/Jim Cullum

Long Way from Saint Louis

Gaslight GSL-5004


Jim Hall

DownBeat Critics Choice

Telarc CD-83557


Diana Krall

Live in Paris

Verve 4400652522


Ray Brown

Some of my Best Friends are Guitarists

Telarc CD-83499



Haunted Heart

High Note HCD 7079


Charlie Mariano

Deep in a Dream

Enja/Justin Time JENJ 3302-2


Rob McConnell Tentet

Thank You, Ted

Justin Time JUST 173-2


The Nathaniel Dett Chorale

Listen to the Lamb

Marquis Classics 7 74718 12932


Bobby Shew with The Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra

Easy to Love



Michael Brecker

Nearness of You

Verve 3145497052


Dave Holland Big Band

What Goes Around

ECM 1777


Mark Winkler

Sings Bobby Troup

Rhombus Records RHO 7029


Arnett Howard’s Creole Funk Band

Joyful Music, Generous Spirit



Ron Johnston

Remembering Tomorrow

James Peters Audio Records CA-P25-01-00001


Carol Welsman

Hold Me

Avenue Jazz/BMG 74321856592


Kevin Barrett

Share The Wealth

Independent KJB01.02






Label & Cat. No.


Oscar Peterson

“This is…..”

RCA Bluebird 09026-63990-2


Freddie Redd

Redd’s Blues

Blue Note 7243 5 40537 2 6


Tina Brooks

The Waiting Game

Blue Note 7243 5 40536 2 7


Milt Jackson


Pablo PACD 2620-120-2


Thelonious Monk


Riverside RCD-1133-2


Ronnie Matthews/Roland Alexander/Freddie Hubbard


Prestige PRCD-24271-2


Duke Ellington

And his Mother Called Him Bill

Bluebird 09026-63744-2


Miles Davis

Water Babies

Columbia/Legacy CK 86557


Horace Silver

Paris Blues

Pablo PACD-5316-2


Stan Kenton

Complete Capitol Studio Transcriptions

Definitive Records DRCD 11194


Doug Hamilton’s Brass Connection 11

Live at the Senator

Independent 29256 01792


Lori Cullen

So Much

Culinor Records CD 2358


Jack McDuff

The Last Goodun’

Prestige PRCD-24274-2


Sonny Criss

Mr blues pour flirter

Gitanes 3145492312


Elek Bacsik

Guitar Conceptions

Gitanes 542 231-2


Previous Picks